Updated: Jun 27, 2022
Announcing the Stars Aligned Foundation
I remember talking to you that day a year or so ago, even though it feels like just last week. You told me how you tossed and turned, unable to sleep, realizing you were not going to have all those wishes your heart only knew you so desperately wanted. Even more heartbreaking deserved more than anyone else I have ever met. You asked me what your survival rate was and what I honestly believed. Throughout my time as an oncology nurse, I have always felt it is imperative to be completely honest in good and bad times to allow people to plan accordingly. I believe every beautiful story deserves a beautiful ending to the best of our capabilities. Like, after reading a beautiful book, you finish holding close to close and remembering the laughs, smiles, tears, and love. But on that day and on that call, I did not dare to tell you the truth we both already knew.
You stormed into my life full of fiery and fight. I remember being told of you and your husband and immediately jumped to conclusions about who these people thought they were until I met you both…
There are people you meet in a life full of authentic love, kindness, and true free spirit. Like a shooting star, they leave you awe-struck and appreciate even a moment knowing the beauty is authentic and in front of you! And you both were in love, not just love but the kind they write epic love stories about. You seemed to step out of a fairytale yourself-too; good to be true. Everyone you bumped into and encountered fell madly in love with you and wanted desperately to help you, not out of pity but because of the small impact on every one of us. You always left us with a smile, feeling loved, and the drive to be a better person.
The best way I can explain it is you carried glitter everywhere you went and left a little on all of us for the better.
Having cancer is terrifying and going through the roller coasters of it all-there are absolutely no words. Yet, you lived every day regardless. You turned what could have been a devastating time into an opportunity to be a face of breast cancer, a warrior, bringing awareness and then blogging through your treatment in good times and bad. You made lists to help others prepare, gave book suggestions, and did everything possible to make the journey easier for the next person following your footsteps.
While many of the women following your footsteps went into remission, the universe and fate had a twist and another twist for you, barely allowing you to catch a breath. Yet, you never lost hope, faith, and optimism with a mindset determined to cherish the days you had with a smile and pure grace. While many would have become bitter and mad, your true beauty, incredible internal spark, and kind, warm love shined brighter than ever.
You were that gorgeous, jaw-dropping woman that walked into a room turning heads. Women wanted to hate you, but after meeting you, you fell in love with you too. Your heart always shined brighter than your beauty, and you could have been a model. But, instead, you and your husband were the kind of couple everyone wanted as friends, funny, charming, lighthearted, and able to be goofy enough never to take life too seriously. I remember you both referring to a doctor as the Matthew McConaughey of liver specialists making all of us cry laughing listening to the impersonation you both did afterward. I can still hear the laughter.
Full steam ahead, and she did; she was a warrior, an inspiration, a friend, a love, and a genuinely kind soul-one of a kind. I am incredibly blessed to be a small part of her incredible story. She would send ME texts of encouragement even in the last weeks and months of her life. I am honored to have known such a remarkable shooting star who may have been too bright for this dark world.
Neffinger and Kohut quote in their book about what the balance and nexus of these two elements bring: “The ability to master this tension, to project both strength and warmth at once, is rare — so rare that we celebrate, elevate, and envy those people who manage to it. We even have special names for this ability. The ancient Greeks called it “the divine gift,” from which we get the word “charisma.”
All my love to M., you are in my heart and thoughts. Most never find that kind of love you shared; I hope someday the pain eases and only the beauty remains.
Grief is tough. I found out she passed waking up from oral surgery, yet somehow, I already knew. The world seemed a little darker, but now I can do my part in carrying on her beauty, kindness, and enchantment onward to others. She inspired me to begin Servant Heart during a dark time in my life and kept encouraging and empowering me to follow my purpose and calling to pursue it following it through.
In her honor, I want to give back by helping ten patient who is not able to afford an advocate or desperately needs one each month at my cost to allow them to have the advocacy you showed and help align their care teams which you were so fortunate to have had (because they may have all been a wee bit afraid of you). I hope to expand it more as Servant Heart grows as well.
I named it the Stars Aligned Foundation. If I am around and kicking, I will carry on her kindness and impact in any way I can while she leaves an enormous ripple. She left big shoes to fill.
People always ask me,” why oncology?!?” and then make "that" face. For me, to meet someone in the darkest days, which brings out the worst in many with so many scared, having their world flipped upside down, unsure who to trust or lean on if I can make that dark time even an ounce better, provide comfort; I know I have served my purpose.
It is not an easy job. As an oncology nurse, you are often on the receiving end of the target of anger and fear-filled emotional outbursts that need to explode somewhere and on anyone. Still, patients fear releasing this ball of fury and fear they have been carrying at home with loved ones or friends (and never the doctors :)). But, in those moments, I can separate my ego from the words spoken in anger. I see only the fear, the rage for what life has dealt them, the sadness, the unknown reality ahead of them, disrupting everything once planned. I can understand how incredibly unfair it truly is. I know it is not about me, but they need me now the most. I can love all my patients unconditionally, even the most challenging ones, for who we only shared love for one in the final hours.
After all, we want to feel safe, cared for, and heard when going through the darkest hours- not just advice and fixed.
“Sometimes I inspire my patients, but more often they all inspire me.” -Unknown.
Look up and enjoy. The simple wonders in life are the most beautiful- smiles, sunsets, and stars.
Find Lyra by looking for Vega, the westernmost of the three bright stars in the Summer Triangle. In the Northern Hemisphere, you'll find it halfway up the eastern sky in the first couple hours after dark in June. A pair of binoculars will help you see the other stars in Lyra, forming a sort of parallelogram hanging beneath it.
It's sometimes described as looking like a diamond ring, with Vega as the diamond.
Vega is by far the brightest star in Lyra.
The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian advance humanity’s knowledge of the Universe by uncovering the nature of distant cosmic phenomena. But many of our most significant discoveries start with the simple act of observing. Here’s what to look for in our current night sky. (Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)